Coaching Corner

Embracing the Future — Intraoral Scanners

If you look at the dental industry now compared to a few decades ago, one of the biggest points of advancement has been technology. It seems like each year brings some sort of advancement that helps dentists provide care that’s easier, more predictable and above all else, more effective. We’ve seen a number of examples of this throughout the past few years – Invisalign, dental implants, laser dentistry, advanced periodontics, etc.

Coaching Corner

If you look at the dental industry now compared to a few decades ago, one of the biggest points of advancement has been technology. It seems like each year brings some sort of advancement that helps dentists provide care that’s easier, more predictable and above all else, more effective. We’ve seen a number of examples of this throughout the past few years — Invisalign, dental implants, laser dentistry, advanced periodontics, etc.

Another prime example of a groundbreaking technology is the intraoral scanner. This modern device delivers accurate scans of a patient's tooth or bite without the need to take traditional impressions. As many dentists and dental teams are aware, traditional impression materials can be unpredictable, inaccurate and messy. There are multiple steps involved in taking an impression, which takes up a lot of time not only from the dental team’s schedule, but from the patient’s schedule as well. Also, the inconsistent nature of impression materials can be easily thrown off by factors like the length of time the impression is kept in the patient's mouth, the temperature of the office, or even how carefully the model is poured. Any slip up during this process can result in a distorted impression, which often means the patient must come back in for a new impression to be taken.

By instead using intraoral scanners, dentists will ultimately save time and money while avoiding possible inaccuracy caused by outdated and unpredictable impression materials. Scanners will also eliminate the hassle and expenses associated with constantly purchasing impression materials. Instead of using impression putty and messy plaster, the intraoral scanner takes a digital impression. This delivers a quick, accurate image of the treatment area that can be used to plan dental treatment.

For today's patients, that convenience and effectiveness are important. They're constantly looking for the best results delivered in the easiest way in the quickest amount of time. The intraoral scanner makes it possible for patients to receive the high level of treatment and convenience they desire.

In this past summer's issue, we discussed how Heartland Dental was researching intraoral scanners and how to ultimately help supported dentists implement scanners in place of traditional impression processes. Throughout the end of 2016, Heartland Dental's Clinical Affairs team continued to make progress in this area. The team did a thorough evaluation of available scanners, and determined that the iTero® digital scanner was the best recommendation for supported dentists. Since then, the first 30 of these scanners have been deployed to supported offices along with full training. The results have been fantastic, and we look forward to rolling out scanners to more supported offices in 2017.

This is just one example of our commitment to continuously offering access, information and education on the most up-to-date technologies available. Through researching and implementing modern, technologically advanced dental equipment like the intraoral scanner, supported dental offices are able to completely do away with imprecise and outdated dental materials.

Scanners mean decreased chair time and increased patient satisfaction. This ultimately allows supported dentists and their teams to continue to do what they do best: provide the most optimal care possible.

Samson Liu, DDS, MAGD

Samson Liu, DDS, MAGD, MBA